Voter backlash against the Democrat impeachment inquiry of President Trump and strong support for the president in Kentucky appear to be key factors helping Republican Gov. Matt Bevin in his re-election battle against Democrat challenger Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.
Bevin, first elected governor in November 2015, is seeking a second four-year term as governor and faces Beshear in a November 5 general election.
A poll released by Maxon-Dixon Polling & Strategy on Wednesday shows that Bevin has pulled into a tie with Beshear, a significant improvement from the eight point deficit he had in the race as measured in a poll released by the same firm in December 2018.
“Republican Governor Matt Bevin has pulled into a tie with Democratic challenger Andy Beshear. Statewide, 46% of likely voters now support Bevin and 46% back Beshear. At the beginning of the year, Beshear held a 48%-40% lead over Bevin,” Mason-Dixon reported in its poll summary.
Bevin is bringing Republican voters back into the fold, with his GOP support increasing from 67% in December to 77% at present. Bevin is also receiving a
stronger cross-over vote, drawing 22% of Democrats compared to Beshear’s 15% from Republicans. . .
Bevin’s resurgence could be attributed to President Donald Trump’s popularity in Kentucky and strong resistance to his impeachment among its voters.
Statewide, 57% approve of Trump’s performance as president and 65% oppose efforts to impeach and remove him from office.
The poll of 625 registered voters was conducted between October 10 and 13, and has a four point margin of error.
“Bevin has made a concerted push to bring the possible impeachment of Trump into the campaign news cycles, and the Mason-Dixon poll shows evidence that most agree with the governor’s stance against such a move by Congress,” the Louisville Courier-Journal reported on Wednesday:
Only 29% of respondents say they favor the impeachment of Trump and his removal from office, while 65% oppose such actions. Even in Louisville and its surrounding counties, 50% of respondents oppose the president’s impeachment and removal, while 78% Eastern Kentucky respondents oppose Trump’s removal.
Trump has an approval rating of more than 50% in all categories except for the Louisville Metro region and among Democratic and independent respondents. Though below 50%, the poll still indicates that a sizable 34% of Democrats approve of the president’s performance.
President Trump has been effusive in his praise of Bevin, tweeting his endorsement of his re-election on Tuesday:
“Governor Matt Bevin has done a wonderful job for the people of Kentucky!” the president said in the tweet.
“He continues to protect your very important Second Amendment. Matt is Strong on Crime and the Border, he Loves our Great Vets and Military. Matt has my Complete and Total Endorsement, and always has,” he added.
Governor @MattBevin has done a wonderful job for the people of Kentucky! He continues to protect your very important Second Amendment. Matt is Strong on Crime and the Border, he Loves our Great Vets and Military. Matt has my Complete and Total Endorsement, and always has!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2019
Mason- Dixon’s December 2018 poll of the race showed Beshear with an eight point lead over Bevin, 48 percent to 40 percent.
Both Mason-Dixon polls of the Kentucky race had a plus or minus four point margin of error. The October 2019 poll included eight percent more Democrats among respondents than Republicans, while the December 2018 poll included ten percent more Democrats among respondents than Republicans.
The Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) of Kentucky’s six Congressional Districts shows a Republican PVI that ranges from +9 to +31.
An June 2019 poll of the race conducted by Gravis Marketing showed Bevin with a six point lead, 48 percent to 42 percent, over Beshear.
Four years ago, Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy released a similar poll of the race for governor in Kentucky three weeks before the November 2015 election. That poll showed Democrat nominee Conway beating Bevin by two points, 43 percent to 41 percent.
On election day in November 2015 Bevin defeated Conway by eight points, 52 percent to 44 percent.